Kai Sotto brimming with confidence heading into latest Gilas foray

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Kai Sotto during Gilas Pilipinas’ open practice.–MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

MANILA, Philippines—Kai Sotto is more confident than ever heading into another campaign for Gilas Pilipinas in the upcoming Fiba Asia Cup qualifiers.

Sotto’s added confidence stems from his solid play with the Yokohama B-Corsairs in the Japan B.League.

“I’m just happy that I’m getting more used in the past games and I have a huge trust in myself every time I step on the court. I always believe in myself that anytime I play, I have full confidence in my abilities,” said Sotto during Gilas Pilipinas’ open practice on Monday at Philsports Arena.

Sotto notched a pair of impressive double-doubles against Chiba in his last two games for Yokohoma before he flew to the Philippines to join Gilas’ preparations. He had 18 points and 10 rebounds in a loss last February 10 and followed it up with a career-high 26 points and 11 rebounds in a victory a day later.

READ: After his first World Cup, Kai Sotto sees bright future ahead for Gilas

The 21-year-old Sotto, who is averaging 9.7 points on 60 percent shooting from the field, 4.8 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game in his first season with Yokohama, will have to do more of the same if not better for Gilas in the first window of the Asia Cup qualifiers with his fellow big men June Mar Fajardo and AJ Edu sidelined with injuries.

Fajardo is dealing with a calf injury while Edu is out after suffering a torn meniscus last November in the B.League.

Kai Sotto Gilas Pilipinas

Kai Sotto indulges Filipino fans’ requests for pictures after Gilas’ open practice at Philsports Arena.–MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

Sotto and veteran internationalist Japeth Aguilar are expected to step up and hold the fort for Gilas in the paint.

“Props to kuya Japeth for stepping in that spot and we just have our next man up, of course for all the players as well. We’re missing two key players, so the rest will have to step up and everybody’s ready for the upcoming window so I’m confident with this team,” said Sotto

The 7-foot-3 Sotto is also excited to play for Tim Cone, who also coached his dad Ervin when he was with Alaska.

“I’ve learned a lot from coach Tim. Even before, my dad became one of his players and he told me a lot of good stories about coach Tim and now I witnessed it as a player under him.”

“I think all of us learned a lot already in this short period of time and we’ll apply it to the coming games.”



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Gilas plunges into action against Hong Kong on Thursday before hosting Chinese Taipei on Sunday at Philsports Arena.





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